Friday, December 13, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
We might be a year or two away from having 4-5 guys in the top 50 again, but while we may never regain the golden age of Sampras-Agassi-Courier-Chang dominance I got to enjoy as a kid, things will be a lot better in the future than they are now. I'm convinced of it. The problem with American tennis is we are taught to hit big serves and forehands, and come in. That has always been the blueprint to success. As strings got better, balls heavier, courts slower... it's all benefited legs and consistency over shotmaking. Not only is it harder to hit through the court, underdeveloped weaknesses are easier to expose. So all those youngsters that spent all their formative years not worrying about a backhand because they were running around it and bombing every shot? They are paying for that now. And it's much easier to pass them when they are at the net. The classic clay courter game is now the universal game, and that's what having success. Guys like Raonic, Tsonga, Isner and Berdych are the exception because they are freaks of nature. But unless you are a freak of nature, you better be able to run, defend, keep the ball in the court and have endurance. That's how you survive in the modern game. It's why a guy like Smyczek is ranked so much higher than Steve Johnson, say, despite having much less "game". We're getting there but years of one dimensional teaching has to be undone. Anyway, this could take up an entire blog post so I'll leave it at that for now.